Oscars 2018: Will Best Picture and Best Director line up for the first time since ‘Birdman’?

It used to be pretty much an Academy Awards norm that the film that won Best Picture also took home the Oscar for Best Director. In recent years that has changed, largely due to the preferential ballot that has been implemented for Best Picture voting. These two categories have split in four of the past five years, with “Birdman” (2014) and its director Alejandro G. Inarritu being the last time they lined up. Currently “The Shape of Water” is in first place to win both categories on Gold Derby’s Oscar charts, so might things get back on track this year?

SEE 2018 Oscar nominations: Full list of Academy Awards nominees in all 24 categories

A year ago Damien Chazelle won Best Director for “La La Land” while “Moonlight” took Best Picture, becoming the fourth time this decade that the Oscar split occurred. In 2015 Inarritu won Best Director for “The Revenent” (his second in a row) while “Spotlight” took the award for Best Picture. Two years earlier Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director for “Gravity” (2013) while “12 Years a Slave” took Best Picture. And in 2012 things were quite complicated when Ben Affleck was snubbed for a nomination as Best Director but his film “Argo” still went on to receive the award for Best Picture; Ang Lee won the directing prize for “Life of Pi.”

In the early days of the Oscars in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s it wasn’t uncommon for the two categories to be won by different films but in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s it only happened one time each decade. The trend began to reverse itself in the 2000s, with three of the 10 directing winners not matching Best Picture.

In addition to the four instances explained above, here is the list of other times when the Best Director and Best Picture awards didn’t match up. The Best Director winner is followed by the film that won the Oscar for Best Picture.

1928-29: Frank Lloyd (“The Divine Lady”), “The Broadway Melody”
1930-31: Norman Taurog (“Skippy”), “Cimmaron”
1931-32: Frank Borzage (“Bad Girl”), “Grand Hotel”
1935: John Ford (“The Informer”), “Mutiny on the Bounty”
1936: Frank Capra (“Mr. Deeds Goes to Town”), “The Great Ziegfeld”
1937: Leo McCarey (“The Awful Truth”), “The Life of Emile Zola”
1940: John Ford (“The Grapes of Wrath”), “Rebecca”
1948: John Huston (“The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”), “Hamlet”
1949: Joseph Mankiewicz (“A Letter to Three Wives”), “All the King’s Men”
1951: George Stevens (“A Place in the Sun”), “An American in Paris”
1952: John Ford (“The Quiet Man”), “The Greatest Show on Earth”
1956: George Stevens (“Giant”), “Around the World in 80 Days”
1967: Mike Nichols (“The Graduate”), “A Man for All Seasons”
1972: Bob Fosse (“Cabaret”), “The Godfather”
1981: Warren Beatty (“Reds”), “Chariots of Fire”
1989: Oliver Stone (“Born on the Fourth of July”), “Driving Miss Daisy”
1998: Steven Spielberg (“Saving Private Ryan”), “Shakespeare in Love”
2000: Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”), “Gladiator”
2002: Roman Polanski (“The Pianist”), “Chicago”
2005: Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain”), “Crash”

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Be sure to make your Oscar predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 4. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our movie forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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